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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

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And all the while that these practical men were busy showing
how young gentlemen could be effectively trained to take their
place in society, another group of men was trying to reform educa-
tion from within. Most notable of these was Richard Mulcaster
(circa 1530-1611), for twenty-five years headmaster of the
Merchant Taylors' School and for twelve years more headmaster
of St. Paul's School. His claim to a foremost place among
English educators rests on the two books on elementary education
which he wrote after twenty-two years3 experience in the Merchant
Taylors' School: Positions wherein those Primitive Circumstances
be examined, which are necessarie for the Training Up of Children,
either for skill in their Books or Health in their Bodie (1581), and
The First Part of the EUmentarie (1582). He starts from the fact
that boys come to the studies of the grammar school so imper-
fectly prepared that the teachers there " can hardly do any good,
the groundwork of their entry being so rotten underneath." The
only remedy for this state of matters, in his opinion, was a com-
pulsory training in reading, writing, music and drawing for all
children whether rich or poor up to the age of twelve. With such
a training more progress would be made in learning Latin from
twelve to skteen than was otherwise made from seven to seven-
teen. But it is an essential condition of success that the teacher
at this stage should be the " cunningest," and that his reward
should be the greatest seeing that his work demands most energy
and most judgment. None but the best are good enough to lay
the foundations for a secure and lasting building of good scholar-
ship. It follows from this that the teacher should get a proper
training for his work at the universities, beginning like the students
of medicine, law and divinity in the college of philosophy, and
then going on like them to a special college of his own, where he
can get the requisite knowledge and the right professional spirit.
Even then he will need to acquire good methods of instruction,
such as Mulcaster indicates for his guidance, in the actual work of
teaching. So far as the pupil is concerned, two things are of special
importance* Careful attention must be given to the training of
the body by well-regulated games and exercises, and the founda-
tions of a liberal education laid on the correct use of English in
speech and writing before a beginning is made with Latin at all.
Mulcaster develops the latter point at length in the Elementarie.
Why not write all in English? he asks in the Peroration of that